The following is the original author's preface:
Horace Greeley's advice to young men, and an inordinate desire to see and to learn something of the world far remote from home, actuated me,- after acquiring all the book lore I then deemed necessary for general purposes, to spend several years in the far west, Mexico, California, British Columbia, Alaska, Ontario, &c., &c. My itinerary grew voluminous as Thucydides. These fustian letters, a few copies of which I have, at the request of many of my friends, printed, give, to a limited extent, that part of my varied experience in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico;- at that time wild west frontiers.
For want of time therefor, I have not arranged them in altogether satisfactory shape; and not being an expert printer and bibliopegist, the mechanical part is not first class. I have greatly amplified the orjginal text, and incorporated many lexiphanic words. The reason for such diction and phraseology is explained in Letter I.
As to evident exaggerations, the reader may decide. There are a few obsolete words, and now and then, a word is used, inadvertently, not exactly in the right connection, yet, the language is certainly English.
There are about 225,000 words in the English language, but only a few thousand are used by most people. How many, for instance, without consulting a dictionary, can make head or tail as to the meaning of the following?:
"I will againbuy the atabal. You are asweved? Yet this is no blushet's bobance, nor am I a cudden, either. Though the atabal is dern, still will I againbuy it."
Plain synonymous words gives the following:- "I will recover the drum. You are amazed? Yet this is no young girl's boasting, nor am I a fool, either. Though the drum is hidden, still will I recover it."
Throughout these letters, not a few words, total strangers to many readers, may be found; but the paraphrastical glossary which I have prepared and conveniently arranged, will enable, even those whose vocabulary is limited, to get the meaning readily and fully.
No one can truly claim to have a liberal English educatlon, and be ignorant of the meaning of the majority of the words in this book. What pleasure or profit may be derived from wandering through this labyrinth, or concatenation of "jaw breakers," competent philological critics may determine.
"La critique est facile, et l'art est difficile."
Jan. 9, 1906.